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ICO Analysis: THEKEY

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The digital economy has introduced profound changes in the way we interact, do business and connect with one another. One of the most prominent themes to emerge from this paradigm is the need to identify one another digitally – and to ensure that our digital footprint is secure and unalterable. As the lines between digital and reality continue to blur, the need for robust identity verification tools is becoming more critical.

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THEKEY has zeroed in on this need very carefully by developing a decentralized identity platform powered by blockchain technology. The company is developing an identification verification (IDV) tool that it says will be undeniable and unalterable, giving users an immutable identity verification system they can use in all aspects of life.

Although THEKEY recently announced a hard date for its initial coin offering (ICO), the company’s roots go all the way back to 2014 (that’s a long time in blockchain years). Over that period, the Singapore-based company has done a staggering amount of work, such as obtaining 23 copyrights and 15 patents. The patents have already been accepted by China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO).

What’s more, THEKEY has already rolled out a pilot program and conducted fairly robust research on the size of their potential market. Much of this is contained in an impressive 50-page whitepaper.

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Token

The firm is currently developing a token (TKY) that will facilitate transactions on its ecosystem, which it calls the decentralized autonomy community. This community will consist of three main participants: validator, service provider and individual user. The TKY token will provide users with the incentive to participate in the community.

To participate in this ecosystem, users will be required to sign smart contracts with built-in KYC protocols. The TKY token will be used to settle smart contracts signed between participants. Users will be able to use TKY tokens to buy identity-related products and services, which the company says will be developed in the future.

Interestingly, the token is being built on the NEW smart contract rather than the more common ERC protocol.

Team

Prospective investors will be happy to note that THEKEY is backed by a core team of computer programmers, data scientists and R&D specialists. The firm is headed by Catherine Li, who serves as CEO and was the main architect behind the Data Acquisition Program, which enabled THEKEY to acquire the data of 210 million people in 66 cities.

Based on the whitepaper, THEKEY has nine core staff and three blockchain experts making up its advisory group.

Interestingly, the project has set up its a so-called Administration Committee, which is a “decentralized organization specializing in the standardization and popularization of the identification system.” According to the whitepaper, it is made up of senior-level people, although names and organizations have not been provided.

Verdict

THEKEY is delivering a highly sophisticated ICO that serves a growing need in an increasingly digitized world. The company is basically taking personally identified information from reliable government sources and placing it on the blockchain. It is then creating an ecosystem where users, validators and service providers can interact.

If you’re on the fence about the project, it’s helpful to remember that the company has already achieved tangible results. More on this is found in the section on growth potential below.

Risks

  • While the TKY token has great promise, it could have limited use cases initially. The whitepaper does not seem to address when these new identity-related products (i.e. platform for personal background checks and credit reports) will be made available. -1
  • Though not necessarily a risk, THEKEY is looking to take your personally identifiable information and put it on the blockchain where it will exist forever. Depending on your ideological persuasion and views toward privacy, this may not be a project you can get behind. This may be the author’s opinion, but THEKEY seems to be a project ideally suited for more centralized economies such as China. The company has already acquired identification data of hundreds of millions of people from government and financial sources. A project of this nature may have more difficulty taking off in the more privacy-focused West. -2
  • THEKEY has established strong ties to world-class firms, but has not fleshed out its business model or monetization plan. In the whitepaper, the firm says the business model of its IDV products have “already been partly proven” without going into specifics. -2

Growth Potential

  • The personal identity management (PIM) market was estimated to be worth $6.5 billion in 2015, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20% to reach $34 billion in the next seven years. Clearly, THEKEY is entering the market at the right time. +3.5
  • The company has already raised seed funding, and has obtained dozens of copyrights and patents. Additionally, the firm’s identity verification system is already deployed in two pilot projects in the cities of Kaifeng and Jiaxing, China. An additional 41 cities are on the way. What’s more, the platform has already collected personal data on hundreds of millions of people. In other words, THEKEY isn’t your run-of-the-mill ICO looking to make a quick buck. It has established a strong presence in the market prior to launching its token raise. +4
  • THEKEY is backed by a solid team with expertise in blockchain, R&D and data science. This adds instant credibility to the project, and raises the prospects for successful implementation following the token raise. +1.5
  • The company has already established strong partnerships with Chinese companies, such as China Unicom, Ping An Insurance, China RE and China Minsheng Bang, giving it another leg up in commercialization. +2

Disposition

As an investment opportunity, THEKEY presents a compelling case for ICO hunters looking to capitalize on an established company with strong ties to industry. A careful weighing of the pros and cons leaves us with a final score of 7 out of 10. The author believes a higher score may be justified in the presence of  a more detailed business model. Nevertheless, the work being done by the project team warrants considerable praise as we approach the public launch.

Investment Details

  • Type: Crowdsale
  • Symbol: TKY
  • ICO: Feb. 1, 2018 – Feb. 28
  • Platform: NEO
  • Minimum Investment: 0.1 BTC
  • Price: 1 BTC = 1 million TKY
  • Restrictions: United States, Mainland China
  • Currencies Accepted: Bitcoin, Ethereum, NEO

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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3 votes, average: 4.67 out of 53 votes, average: 4.67 out of 53 votes, average: 4.67 out of 53 votes, average: 4.67 out of 53 votes, average: 4.67 out of 5 (3 votes, average: 4.67 out of 5)
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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. crypto7030

    January 9, 2018 at 12:01 am

    Having read the white paper I’m quite interested in this, I was wondering in the article it states that there are restrictions. Is it restricted to US or mainland China or these countries can’t participate?

    • Noah Price

      January 9, 2018 at 1:52 am

      The US and mainland China are restricted from participating…

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ICO Analysis: Medicalchain

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Medicalchain is aiming to disrupt data management in the healthcare industry using decentralization and the blockchain technology.

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Despite the world being in the midst of a data revolution, medical data is yet to catch up with other industries. From centralization, to slow speeds and vulnerable networks, healthcare systems have not evolved along with other industries.

Medicalchain is solving four significant issues with the current state of healthcare data storage.

  • Interoperability: Health data contained in legacy systems is fragmented because of varying systems and formats. There is no single version of truth which can be used and accessed by all the stakeholders.
  • Security and Fraud: Sensitive information about patients is stored in centralized legacy servers. WannaCry attack crippled the NHS with an attack on more than 230K computer systems. Medical data is sold on the dark web for almost 10x the price of credit card info.
  • Data storage: Medical data is usually controlled by a single entity which results in high dependency on that system. NHS recently lost the medical records of around 700K patients putting their health at risk.
  • Privacy control: Patients have no control over who uses and accesses their medical information.

Medicalchain’s decentralized platform enables secure, fast and transparent exchange and usage of medical data using the blockchain technology. The platform is built using a dual blockchain structure. The first blockchain controls access to health records and is built using Hyperledger Fabric. The second blockchain is powered by an ERC20 token on Ethereum and underlies all the applications and services for the platform.

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Hyperledger fabric allows access control and multiple layers of permissions which is ideal for the privacy control use case. Only the patients can access their medical data while blockchain makes it immutable to hacks and breaches.

Medicalchain is not just a platform to store and access medical data but provides an infrastructure for digital health application and services to be built on top of the healthcare database. The company is currently developing two applications to work alongside the platform: a doctor-to-patient telemedicine application and a health data marketplace. Going ahead, Medicalchain aims to serve as an ecosystem for decentralized healthcare applications. A closed beta platform will be launched in February of this year.

Token

The ERC20 MedToken will be used to access and pay for applications built on top of the Medicalchain data. When conducting telemedicine consultations (using the Telemedicine application), patients will pay the doctors using MedTokens.

Pharmaceutical organizations will pay the patients in the form of MedTokens if the patients provide them access to his medical history using the marketplace application.
Users will use MedTokens for a variety of other applications and services that will be developed on Medicalchain’s platform.

Team

Co-founder Dr. Abdullah Albeyatti created an application called Discharge Summary in 2016 to generate accurate medical reports on patients, before they are discharged. He created these frameworks to create standardization in medical reports. Discharge Summary is being used in 3 hospitals in the UK. Discharge Summary is a very small component of Medicalchain, and contrary to many claims, it would be inappropriate to suggest that Medicalchain is being tested in 3 hospitals.

The other Co-founder Mo Tayeb is a tech entrepreneur and has previously founded technology, finance, and e-commerce companies.

There are 13 members in the team with extensive experience in healthcare and tech.

Medicalchain has eight advisors which include healthcare professionals and blockchain specialists.

Verdict

Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States; add to it the woes faced by NHS in 2017, we can conclude that Medicalchain is working on a real problem which needs immediate solutions. The team looks solid with a mix of both healthcare and technology.
Medicalchain also scores well on the hype factor, with more than 10K members on the Telegram group a couple of weeks before the ICO.
But as with any industry with solid blockchain use case, there are many current and upcoming projects competing with Medicalchain.

Medicalchain vs. competition?
The most well-known project in this space is Patientory. Patientory differs from Medicalchain in 2 major aspects. Patientory is primarily focused in the US, while Medicalchain has global ambitions. After initial testing in the US and the UK, Medicalchain will expand in other geographies in this year itself. Another major differentiator is that Medicalchain follows a bottom-up approach, where they plan to integrate patients and doctors onto the platform and then make the platform functional using the Telemedicine application. Patientory follows a top-down approach and is trying to partner with establishments, hospitals, healthcare organizations. We have a favorable view of the bottom-up approach, as it makes the project less dependent on partnerships and can be readily operational.

Medibloc is another platform operating in the same sector. Medibloc is based on Qtum while Medicalchain’s data layer is based on hyperledger fabric, which we feel is more suitable for this use case. We also think Medicalchain’s team more capable than either of these projects.

Overall Medicalchain is a good project on the conceptual level, but some concerns start to emerge once you think about executing it on scale. We will discuss some of these concerns in the Risks section.

Risks

  • The team will have to interact with multiple entities including the doctors, patients, pharmacies, insurers.
    Bringing all these entities on board and convincing them about the potential benefits won’t be an easy task. -2
  • Interacting with the regulatory authorities of each region will have its own difficulties. Each geography has its specific laws and regulations when it comes to medical data. E.g., in the US, the patients do not necessarily own their medical data, the hospitals and the clinicians have the right over it. The UK has a central healthcare database, but Medicalchain will need to extract data from the UK’s central servers which are based on subpar technology. -3
  • Medicalchain is expected to face significant competition in the future. Tech giants like IBM are actively exploring blockchain solutions for the healthcare industry. IBM recently collaborated with major insurers in India for blockchain solutions. -1

Growth Potential

  • The project fares better regarding the team, roadmap, and vision against the existing competition. Co-founder Dr. Abdullah Albeyatti has been working in this direction since 2016. +5
  • There is a significant growth potential for blockchain solutions in the healthcare industry, especially in the Healthcare data segment. Considering the issues that NHS had to face in the past year, UK seems like ideal geography to begin operations. +4
  • Medicalchain is also creating an application layer to build medical applications. The Telemedicine application and the health data marketplace differentiates it from other similar services and will create a pathway for future healthcare applications to be launched on the platform. +3

Disposition

We arrive at a score of +6 for Medicalchain. The score captures the growth potential of the project but also incorporates some execution level concerns.

Investment Details

  • Token Type: Utility
  • Platform: Ethereum
  • Symbol: MEDTOKEN
  • Pre-sale: Sold out
  • Public sale: 1 February 2018
  • Initial value: 1 MEDTOKEN = 0.25 USD
  • Hard cap: 24,000,000 USD
  • Total Tokens: 500,000,000
  • Available for Token Sale: 35%
  • Website link: http://medicalchain.com/
  • Jurisdictions Barred from Participating: U.S

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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ICO Analysis: Electrify.Asia

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Electricity

According to the Globalist, “developing countries in Asia are now entering their most energy-intensive phase of development. In line with rising living standards, they increase their consumption for industrialization, infrastructure, transportation and development.”

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Analysts expect that by 2030, half of the demand in energy markets will come from China and India – the other countries in Asia will also make up significant percentage of demand. With this in mind, Asian countries will need to provide consumers with energy security at affordable prices. If they don’t, they won’t be able to meet the burgeoning demand of their rapidly growing populations. However, energy security at affordable prices is very difficult to accomplish.

In light of this, Electrify.Asia is looking to capitalize on Asia’s growing energy security needs. The company aims to “enable the decentralization of power production and bring the power of choice to the consumer.” Essentially, Electrify.Asia is using blockchain technology to disrupt the massive energy industry in Asia by providing both transparency and lower prices to consumers.

Token:

The Electrify.Asia token (ELEC) will be implemented using the Ethereum ERC20. ELEC holders generate value from the token in three ways: (1) loyalty rewards for consumers, (2) the ability to pay transaction fees, and (3) the ability to pay listing deposits for access to Electrify.Asia’s ecosystem.

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According to the white paper, 54% of the funds raised will go towards development, technology and research, 20% towards staffing (HR), 10% towards legal and accounting, 10% towards business development and partnerships, and the rest of the pot (6%) towards operations.

ELEC tokens are valued at $0.08 per 1 ELEC token. The total amount of tokens to be sold is capped at 375,000,000 ELEC. However, the total token supply will capped at 750,000,000 ELEC. The token distribution is as follows: 50% for token sale, 18.4% for team and future members (vesting: 50% at each 6 month interval), 9.0% for advisors and partners, 18.5% for treasury and community development, and 4.1% for airdrop to the community.

The company has not yet stated its intention to list the ELEC tokens on any major crypto exchanges.  

Team:

Electrify.Asia’s core team consists of two senior executives, three business development professionals, two developers, and an operations professional. As compared with the majority of ICOs, Electrify.Asia has a relatively solid team.  

The company’s CEO, Julius Tan, was previously a Solar Research Engineer at the National University of Singapore and an energy trader at an unspecified energy company. Tan has also held a variety of positions at the Singapore Economic Development Board, Standard Chartered Bank and Schlumberger. Additionally, Tan received a BA and MA in Engineering at the University of Cambridge. The company’s COO, Martin Lim, is a 20+ year veteran of the mass communication industry. Lim has worked at a variety of companies including: InMobi, HTC, StarMedia, and Sunseap Energy.

The company’s advisors include the CEO of Omise, a VC executive, a solar executive, an AI/ML researcher, a software engineer, and a compliance executive.

Verdict:

Electrify.Asia presents a highly speculative buying opportunity for investors interested in long-term capital appreciation.  

Energy security is the foundation for developing Asia’s economic transformation, prosperity and development. By decentralizing energy markets across Asia, the company will provide a much needed reform that will lower costs and bring energy security to many emerging market consumers.

However, the primary concern is market adoption across developing Asia. While Electrify.Asia’s technology has a strong potential to be adopted across the developed countries in Asia-Pacific (Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Australia), developing countries across Asia are likely many years away from accepting the technology that the company offers.

Basically, there’s a lot of risk for the company in the developing countries across Asia. In contrast, developed countries in the Asia-Pacific region will likely be open to using the technology. While Electrify.Asia has a strong chance of being successful across developed markets, the company will face many tough hurdles in expanding into some of their target markets (such as: Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Thailand, China, India, etc.).

Risks:

Scaling across Asia is a long and costly process. Each country requires localization, on-the-ground teams, and extensive regulatory compliance. The company’s team may be underestimating the total time and cost of their overall strategy – it’s likely to be much greater than expected. -2

Energy markets in South East Asia are highly regulated and still have infrastructure gaps. While Singapore may be the first country in the region to liberalize its energy market, developing countries (such as: Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.) still lack the infrastructure to be able to do so. Meaning, the company’s technology may be too early for their target markets. -2

Beyond technology risk, market adoption risk runs high for Electrify.Asia. Unless governments across Asia liberalize their energy markets, there is no incentive for energy companies to adopt the added expense of using Electrify.Asia’s platform/ecosystem. -1

Localization in emerging markets will require the company to be able to accept over-the-counter cash payments – many emerging market consumers do not use or have access to credit cards. This will require many strategic partnerships across Asia and is not mentioned as a strategy in the white paper. -1

Growth Opportunity:

Provided the company can successfully scale across Asia, the company will benefit from a large and diverse customer base that is increasingly becoming wealthier and larger (relative to the anaemic growth in the West). With this in mind, global spending by the middle class is expected to reach $35 trillion by 2020 and $56 trillion by 2030 – over 80% of this growth is coming from Asia. Asia’s emerging middle class is shifting the world’s consumer spending paradigm (they’re demanding higher transparency) – Electrify.Asia will be a prime beneficiary of this shift, since energy markets are currently opaque. +4

According to the Asian Development Bank, “annual energy expenditure in Asia is expected to grow from US$700 billion to $US1.6 trillion by 2035.” The company stands to benefit from a large, rapidly growing market that is characterized by significant greenfield opportunities and long-term growth potential. +4  

As developed markets in Asia liberalize their energy markets, Electrify.Asia doesn’t have any real competition to tend with. Basically, the company will benefit from a significant first-mover advantage. +4

Disposition:

Electrify.Asia has a great vision and a solid team, however the company’s technology may be too early for many developing countries across Asia. Provided the company can shift focus to solely the developed countries in the Asia-Pacific region (Japan, South Korea, Australia and Singapore), the company will have a strong potential to become successful.

Beyond technology risk, execution risk and the amount of capital needed for large-scale geographical expansion is being understated by the company – a hard cap of $30M isn’t nearly enough. Additionally, there’s a lot of unanswered questions related to the company’s business development model and approach to strategic partnerships.

Overall, even though technology, market adoption, and execution risk runs high, the company still stands a chance to be the dominant player in the newly liberalized energy markets across developed Asia.

Against this backdrop, we believe that a score of 6 out of 10 is warranted.

Investment Details:

  • Type: Crowdsale
  • Symbol: ELEC
  • Pre-Sale: N/A
  • Public Sale: February 23, 2018
  • Payments Accepted: ETH

Disclaimer: The writer has no position in Electrify.Asia at the time of writing.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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ICO Analysis: COTI

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The global payments industry comprises of many different entities, intermediaries, clearing houses, banks processors, gateways, and of course merchants and consumers. COTI is striving to become the de facto payment mechanism for merchants to transmit business in cryptocurrency (their own, XCT, as well as others) and fiat. The COTI overview paper states: “The COTI team was formed to fill this void. COTI combines the best of traditional payments systems with the best of digital currencies — while working around their respective limitations — to provide a comprehensive payments solution that optimizes for the needs of typical consumers and merchants above all else”.

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For those of you that are unfamiliar with the payments industry, there are certain entities involved when conducting payment transactions using traditional payment rails and the use of card brands like Visa and MasterCard. Let’s go through the traditional process; there is a cardholder, aka the consumer, as well as the merchant who wishes to accept payment for products or services and obtains a merchant account to do so. A payment gateway authorizes credit card payments and is what securely transfers payment information between the merchant’s website or POS machine and merchant account. The payment processor works to process the credit card transaction from start to finish. It does this by connecting the merchant account with the payment gateway so it can receive the transaction details and it also connects the gateway to the Credit Card Network for authorization from the issuing bank. The issuing bank issues credit cards to consumers. They are responsible for paying the acquiring bank for the purchases their cardholders make.

The credit card network helps to connect the issuing and acquiring banks by routing the appropriate transaction information between the two banks. The acquiring bank is also referred to as the merchant bank because they create and maintain merchant accounts that allow a merchant’s business to accept credit and debit cards. So, if you ever wondered what happens when you swipe your card, there you go. As you can see, there are lots of opportunity for blockchain based companies in this space because of the multiple entity transaction chains currently involved. These chains drive up costs in the form of fees to the merchant. The question is, how does COTI fit into this trillion dollar industry?  

The overview paper was very well written with detailed descriptions of applications and services of the organization, including a wallet with an internal exchange and virtual debit card for consumers, processing tools for merchants which looks like a virtual gateway and a platform for mediators to review disputes within their network. The COTI fee structure is based on a Trust Score derived from the transaction history of that individual or merchant. 

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The company also states:

“In addition to taking measures to counter Trust Score manipulation, COTI ensures that parties with low Trust Scores have a clear path to achieving higher Trust Scores. COTI has no intention of enforcing low Trust Scores on any one party in perpetuity, and actively encourages network participants to engage in organic, good-faith efforts to increase their scores. If a low-scoring party can demonstrate its value to the network by engaging in honest, trustworthy conduct, over time this value will be reflected in the party’s Trust Score.”

Token

The token is a native currency called XCT; the company has not determined which blockchain they will be connecting to their internal ledger platform per the white paper. COTI’s native digital currency sits at the center of the COTI network and fuels the interactions between consumers, merchants and mediators. XCT was purpose-built to overcome the barriers that have limited the widespread adoption of digital currencies in day-to-day payments. All fees incurred in the course of using the COTI network are payable in XCT. The levying of fees denominated in XCT applies to all transactions, irrespective of the currency being used to affect the underlying payment. Mediator stakes and payouts are always denominated in XCT. As such, mediators will be required to hold XCT units whenever they wish to engage in mediation. XCT functions as a medium of exchange that can be used when making and receiving payments for goods or services.

Team

The core team comprises a few individuals with both a background in payments and the tech sector as well as previous startup experience. The company looks to have many more advisors than core staff, including those from the academic area, banking and payments space to shepherd the project along. Several advisors were also featured in the company’s promo video and are also being featured on the token sale site before the core team. This makes the optics seem like the advisors are the actual team when that is not the case.

Verdict

Risks

  • There are initial doubts about the level of adoption by mainstream merchants – why this crypto payment option compared to all of the others?. –1
  • No mention of target customer segment. The payments industry is massive and this needs to be niche to start if there is any hopes of adoption and eventually network effects. -1.5
  • We are skeptical of the trust score to determine fees of the network. There are claims about stopping trust score manipulation but I wonder about those average consumers without transaction history why is this network attractive for them? –1

Growth Potential 

  • Adding buyer and seller protections through mediators is a strong play for gaps in the existing digital currency area. + 2  
  • COTI will be able to handle a high throughput of transactions from the outset, initially in the order of 10,000 transactions per second (TPS), and its architecture will be able to scale to accommodate far higher throughputs. All transactions will be confirmed instantly +3
  • Low to zero fee approach can attract existing high-risk merchants who can pay fees upwards of 10%. This would be your adult entertainment, online pharmacy, CBD merchants, etc. COTI may prove as a viable option for them but no mention of target segment was revealed. + 3
  • The project claims high approval rates for cross-border e-commerce transactions, which will yield lower cart abandonment rates for e-commerce merchants and higher conversions. +2

Disposition

Based on the above analysis, we arrive at a score of 6.5 out of 10 for COTI. The project has potential to add scalability to the crypto-payments space with the 10,000 TPS upon launch. The technology, the stack of backers, advisors, and concept look strong but can the organization drive merchant adoption? When will there be revenue realized and transactions happening in volumes to produce revenues to generate value for the XCT currency? These are key considerations that are still up in the air.

Investment Details

  • Type: Crowdsale
  • Symbol: XCT
  • Token Sale: ?
  • Platform: ?
  • Tokens Available Via ICO: ?
  • Token Price: ?

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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